In a bid to further boost people-to-people contact and improve physical connectivity, Nepal and India were all set to launch a direct bus service linking Kathmandu and Vanarasi from Thursday, connecting the two great Hindu religious cities. This is the second direct bus service between Nepal and India after the one linking Kathmandu and New Delhi.
On November 25, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to Kathmandu for the 18th Saarc Summit, flagged off the Kathmandu-Delhi direct bus service along with his Nepali counterpart, Sushil Koirala.
Officials here said Kathmandu and Vanarasi hitherto did not have a direct bus, rail or air service and this new bus service of around a day’s travel time will make a significant contribution in promoting religious tourism on both sides.
Kathmandu is the home of Lord Pashupatinath while Vanarasi hosts the temple of Kashi Vishwanath. “We have completed all necessary preparations regarding the direct bus service,” Tulasi Prasad Sitaula, secretary in Nepal’s ministry of physical planning and infrastructure told.
“Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transportation Bimalendra Nidhi, Joint Secretary in the Indian Road Transport and Highways Ministry, Sanjay Bandopadhyay, Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae, and senior transport officials of the Uttar Pradesh government will jointly flag off the bus service on Thursday morning from Dasharath Stadium in Kathmandu,” he said.
Similarly, it is learnt that Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will flag off the bus service in Varanasi. After this, Nepal and India will start a third direct bus service linking Patna and Kathamndu. “Once we start the service, people from both sides will enjoy hassle-free travel to the great religious cities,” Sitaula said.
The distance between Kathmandu and Varanasi is 550 km and the one-way fare has been fixed at Rs.1,200. The service will run on the Kathmandu-Bhairahwa-Sunauli-Belhiya-Gorakhpur-Varanasi route. Two modern 35-seater air-conditioned coaches will run daily from both sides, Nepali officials said. (IANS)